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Hydration Bottle Reviews

I bought these bottles and was not compensated in any way by the manufacturers.

10419406_835520959799507_1758108178761869361_nUltimate Direction Fastdraw 2010665919_835520936466176_282894039378198914_n oz.
The best thing about this bottle is it doesn’t leak. Even when you leave the bite valve in the “up” position, not a drip! Two other good thing are the larger zipper pocket that can hold more items from the previous holster (phone, gels, keys…I’ve stuffed it full!) and the thin, chafe-free hand strap. Unfortunately two glaring deficiencies about the bottle and holster need to be addressed.

First, the pull-strap is very thin and twists easily when adjusting on-the-go. With this holster you’ll find yourself having to constantly adjust because the strap doesn’t hold in place and constantly loses tension. The loose strap is very annoying and I found myself having to grip the bottle tighter than I would have liked to (which lead to hand/grip fatigue during my 50k race).

Second, the bottle itself is very firm and hard to squeeze when you need to have a strong flow of liquid. Personally, I had a hard time squeezing out a consistent flow as I bit on the valve, even harder during my early morning runs in the cold when my hand is numb from the cold.

Recommendations:
A wider and calloused pull-strap may help with keeping the holster snug to the hand. Softening the plastic a bit to allow a better squeeze.

10629623_835521703132766_2209032509370364899_nSimple Hydration Bottle – 13 oz.
This is an innovative approach to carrying liquids. Simple deserves credit in trying to design a bottle that is easy to carry in the hand and also stuff in your shorts. I think they saw pictures of ultra-runners stuffing bottles into their tights and were inspired to make something for the masses that would like to have a hands free experience without the need for belts or packs.

After using the bottle on four runs ranging from 4 miles to 14, I found the bottle to be more of a nuisance than a relief. Three things stand out the most.

First off, the bottle cap is hard to pull up. I found myself having to bite down hard and jerk the cap up to start the flow of water. It also doesn’t go back down very easily. In fact, when you push down on the cap you’ll find it doesn’t go back down completely. When I squeeze the bottle while the cap is down a small drip starts. Not what you’d want if you were holding the bottle during a run. (The bottle is a softer plastic and easy to squeeze, which is good for a consistent flow of water.)

Second, the bottle lid doesn’t form a tight seal. When the water sloshes around the bottle, a consistent drip appears. Only when the water level is half full does the leak slow. Very annoying for me during my long run because I can feel the water soak my shorts early on the run.

Third, the bottle will weigh down your shorts! I first wore the bottle with my regular run shorts. While the bottle did fit comfortably on my back, I noticed the weight of the bottle start pulling my shorts down. After running half a block I had to pull the bottle up from my shorts and hold it in my hand because my shorts were well on their way to being around my ankles. The hook on the bottle that is supposed to hang on the shorts slipped from the waistline and the bottle went down my shorts. Only when I wore my running short tights did the bottle manage to relatively stay in place (as it continued to leak). As I ran downhill, the bottle moved around a lot and I found myself having to reach back and realign the bottle vertically while sliding it back to a comfortable position around my waist.

Recommendations:
Smaller bottle size (maybe 10 oz.?) will lessen the tendency for the bottle to weigh down shorts. Lengthening the “hook” while narrowing the gap may help with keeping the bottle on the shorts. Rubber bite valve similar to the Ultimate Direction bottle or adding a rubber gasket to the plastic cap while loosening it may help with the leaking. Softer plastic lid may help fill in gaps around the contours of the bottle where the lid screws onto.

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Running Under The Sun

The temperature in L.A. is heating up. What does this mean? (Aside from little pools of sweat forming wherever I stand.) This means we need to be prepared and take precautions before, during, and after our runs.

Before we run we need to be sure that we’re hydrated. This doesn’t mean a glass of water five minutes before your run. Proper hydration means drinking fluids throughout the day. Water, juices, and low caffeine liquids are all appropriate substances. If you’re running in the morning you should start hydrating the night before and waking up an hour before your run to get in at least 3 glasses of water or sports drink. If you’re running for more than an hour or running in direct sunlight, carry a bottle of water or sports drink with you. Plan your running routes to allow for water stops. In Pasadena, the Pasadena Pacers stash water along their running routes during their Saturday long runs.

Hydration strategies should also include electrolytes. Because we tend to sweat more in hotter weather, we lose more essential electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and bicarbonate). The electrolytes we lose are the ones that stave off muscle cramping and muscle fatigue (Sodium loading aids fluid balance and reduces physiological strain of trained men exercising in the heat.). Electrolytes transport fluids from one cell to another. The salts within our cells helps to keep the muscles hydrated, regulates blood acidity levels, and ensures that the muscles and nerves are properly functioning. We need to include a slight increase of sodium and potassium in our diets because those electrolytes are most commonly lost in hot weather and during intense exercise through sweat. I say “slightly” because too much and the body purges the excess through urination and too much sodium may cause high blood pressure.

Another thing to consider is your choice of clothing. Light, loose-fitting, and  moisture wicking material is best. Light clothing means both in weight and color. The lightness is comfortable and doesn’t absorb heat. Tight fitting moisture wicking material wicks away your sweat efficiently (not a good thing) and doesn’t allow your skin to breathe. Remember, sweat helps to cool us down. Loose fitting material allows for some air to brush against our sweaty skin which cools us.

There’s been some debate whether hats aid in cooling. A study was done and found that wearing a moisture wicking hat aided in cooling (I remember reading an abstract). Also, cooling the neck area has been shown to delay heat caused fatigue. (Cooling the neck region during exercise in the heat.; Neck Cooling And Running Performance In The Heat: Single Versus Repeated Application.)

Often overlooked is skin protection. Make sure to apply at least an SPF 30 sunblock. (I love Bullfrog because it stays on after heavy sweating.) Choose a brand that works well with your skin and skin type. Skin cancer is very preventable, so take skin protection seriously! Did I mention “skin” enough times? Just goes to show how important it is.

Post run we should be hydrating, hydrating, and hydrating. Electrolyte based drinks are best (beer is OK, but in moderation. Too much and it can dehydrate you). Eat something that is mostly simple carbohydrates and some protein (4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein has been suggested by experts) to aid in your body’s initial recovery efforts.

(Sorry about the poor citation style. WordPress doesn’t allow footnotes and there’s no way I’m going APA on this bit.)